CNN on Russia’s serial kidnapper/torturer of gays who Putin refuses to arrest

CNN just did a blockbuster report on an issue we’ve been reporting on for months: Russia’s nearly two-dozen-city strong network of ultra-nationalist vigilante groups who kidnap young gay teens and torture them on film, then publish them on Russian social media network VK.com, that oddly lets them publish videos and photos of their crimes.

This video, below, is a must-see, and a must-share.

CNN’s broadcast comes on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin warning gays attending the Olympics to “leave kids alone,” or face arrest under Russia’s draconian new anti-gay “propaganda” law.

Ironically, the biggest threat to Russian children seems to be Vladimir Putin himself. Put has let children-kidnapping vigilantes organize across Russia with impunity.

Russian vigilante groups have organized around the country to kidnap young gay people and terrorize them.

Russian vigilante groups have organized around the country to kidnap young gay people and terrorize them. In this case, they have kidnapped a young gay man from South Africa, who is being forced to eat a watermelon.

One boy was reportedly tortured at gunpoint, then raped with a bottle that was shoved in even further using a baseball bat:

The series of short clips, making the rounds on the mobile phone application WhatsApp show the victim, who seems to be an ethnic Uzbek, being bullied into confessing that he is gay.

He is asked to identify himself and is stripped of his clothes, which are later burned. He is then handcuffed, beaten, insulted, and threatened with a gun. Ultimately, he is forced to sodomize himself by sitting on a bottle, which is then pushed with a bat.

The man, visibly terrified, weeps throughout much of the ordeal.

Image of the young man who was kidnaped, tortured and raped, via RFE/RL.

Image of the young man who was kidnaped, tortured and raped, via RFE/RL.

The Russian authorities have been generally disinterested in the crimes – the victims are, after all, gay – and to date have prosecuted no one, even though the perpetrators’ faces, and often home towns, are clearly visible in the videos.

The ringleader of the vigilantes is ultra-nationalist Maxim Martsinkevich, who was permitted for operate and organize freely until western media, most social media and blogs, highlighted his ongoing crimes.  He has reportedly now left the country in order to avoid prosecution.  Had the Russians bothered going after his six or 12 months ago, they’d have caught him.  We reported on this for the first time in July of 2013.  And by then, it had been going on for months, if not longer.  The Russians had all year to go after, and didn’t until he finally, allegedly, skipped the country in November of 2013.

Not to mention, look at the videos – he had lots of accomplices.  Where are their arrest warrants. And why did it take the Russians at least six months, if not a year or more, to do something about this man?  I’ll tell you why – because that’s when people outside of Russia, in the civilized developed world found out about it, and the Russian government got embarrassed.

Here’s Martsinkevich’s profile on VK.com, with his 134,000 followers.  You’ll note that it’s still live, and that he posted just an hour ago.  I’m surprised we haven’t heard of any lawsuits, or enforcement actions by the Russian government, against this Web site.

Maxim-Martsinkevich

And here’s a photo Martsinkevich posted on his VK.com account, showing him terrorizing one of the victims that CNN also highlighted. Imagine a US or European social media site permitting the promotion of this kind of criminal activity on their sites.  There are a ton more on his profile.

restrukt

VK.com is controlled by this man, Pavel Durov.  Though its ownership is complicated, via Wikipedia:

Pavel Durov, who controls VK.com, a social media site used by Russian criminals to post videos of the kidnapping and torture of gays.

Pavel Durov, who controls VK.com, a social media site used by Russian criminals to post videos of the kidnapping and torture of gays.

V Kontakte was incorporated on 19 January 2007 as a Russian limited liability company. Founder and CEO Pavel Durov owns 20% of shares (although he has majority voting power through proxy votes), and a trio of Russian investors, Vyacheslav Mirilashvili, Mikhael Mirilashvili and Lev Leviev (not from Africa-Israel Investments), own 60%, 10% and 10% respectively. The company is now completely owned by offshore firm Doraview Limited, based in the British Virgin Islands. The full current ownership is not in the public domain, although Mail.ru Group (formerly Digital Sky Technologies) has publicly acknowledged a stake of 39.99%. Subsequently, the full ownership structure was published.The company is controlled by Pavel Durov, founder and CEO. On 29 May 2012 Mail.ru Group announced that it has decided to yield control of the company to Durov by offering him the voting rights on its shares. Combined with Durov’s personal 12% stake, this gives him 52% of the votes.

VK canceled their IPO plans, citing unsatisfactory market conditions after Facebook’s IPO blunder.

Current shareholder structure as of 2011 is: 12% is owned by Vkontakte founder’s Pavel Durov, 8% by his partner Lev Leviev, and 40% by Vyacheslav Mirilashvili and members of his family. Mail.ru Group owns a 39,99% stake, having acquired 7.44% from Pavel Durov and other shareholders last month for $111.7 million.

Perhaps Queer Nation will pay Mr. Durov a visit one of these days and ask him why he thinks letting anti-gay and anti-trans kidnappers use his site to build their fan base, organize, and publicize their crimes is somehow acceptable in any modern social media company.  There are various reports about where Durov lives, including St. Petersburg, Russia and the United States.

The vigilantes call their kidnappings “safaris.”  The number of Martsinkevich’s affiliates – he calls his group Occupy Pedophilia, even though most of his victims appear to be teenage gay boys.  There are nearly two dozen branches in cities like Moscow, Kiev, Saint Petersburg, Kaliningrad, and Rostov, among others.

Below are some of the images from CNN’s broadcast – you can find the broadcast below.  Beneath each image I give a description of what’s taking place.

drink-urine

Kidnapped Russian gay teen is forced to drink urine after his captor – ultra nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich – strips him naked, shaves his head, and paints a rainbow flag on his scalp.

shave-head

Kidnapped Russian gay teen is forced to drink urine after his captor – ultra nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich – strips him naked, shaves his head, and paints a rainbow flag on his scalp.

vigilante-4

Two young gay teens are forced to dance together naked after they were kidnapped by Russian ultra-nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich, who shaved their heads and painted rainbow flags on their scalps.

vigilante-3

Russian ultra-nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich pours what he claims is urine on another young gay teen he has kidnapped.

bigilante-2

A group of vigilantes, lead by Russian ultra-nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich, kidnaps a young gay man who they will then torture.

russia-vigilante

Russian ultra-nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich with a gay man he has kidnapped and is preparing to torture.

russia gay vigilante

This young man was given a choice: lose an eye, or be sodomized with a fork. His kidnapper is Russian ultra-nationalist leader Maxim Martsinkevich.

And below is CNN’s video:


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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